When planning a project, you can assign a particular date to certain activities, while others are linked to dependencies. When should a set date be chosen and when is it better to create dependencies?
Firstly, creating dependencies in an activity means that an activity has to be completed before the linked one can start. This means achieving the aims in the one enables the following activity to be put in motion.
You can assign a set date or create dependencies from the activity panel; in the same place where you set a date, you can also remove one. If the activity has no dependency attached, it will automatically be installed at the start of the project. If there is a dependency with another activity, then this takes precedence over the set date, so it will be planned to begin right after the task to which it is linked.
As far as possible, it is always a good idea to work with dependencies between activities. Thus, Sinnaps detects the end of one activity and when another should begin, which creates an optimum work flow – making the most of each resource.[ How to link activities can increase productivity. ]
What do we achieve by linking activities?
— Flexible planning. Your project will be better able to ride out changes made in the planning.
— Management of project uncertainty. If there are last minute setbacks, which require changes made, activities that are dependent on others can be automatically replanned to provide you with a renewed optimum work path.
— Increase in productivity of up to 55%. By planning with interdependent activities, not only is work done faster, but you can also tackle last minute changes much more quickly.
— 13-30% more accurate estimated costs. More efficient speedy work resulting from contemplating resource availability.
— Minimisation of human errors. Sinnaps considers specifications for all your activities. For instance, it will never plan to start an activity prior to the task to which it is linked. The logic is such that the risk of human error is minimised. But should it still happen, you are notified instantly.
So, when is it better to assign a set date?
Activities with set dates may limit the room to manoeuvre for other activities. Thus, when planning with set dates, you make your planning more rigid as the interdependent activities are also limited.
However, on occasion, it is better to assign a set date to particular activities. Which ones? We would advise you to do so for the following cases:
— With the MILESTONES. Key moments in projects in which we decide whether it is worth the effort and economic resources invested to continue, if we ought to rotate or end the project because it won’t be profitable. For example, software development is split into stages. After finishing each, we can create a milestone with a set date. No matter what happens with the work flow, the day of the milestone will arrive.
— With activities which are dependent on external agents. In other words, tasks that are not planned within our project have a knock-on effect on undertaking our tasks. For instance, work by suppliers, specific client requirements or, simply, dates of holidays can all make us fix a date in the calendar on which to start certain activities.
— For regular progress review meetings. The same situation occurs as with the milestones when we have weekly Monday meetings. So, at Sinnaps, on Mondays we review the weekly plan and on Fridays we check the results. These activities have their set date AND time.
— With events. Any event, conference, congress or other scheduled arrangement you must attend can be planned around a set date. Thus, you separate out these activities so that no matter what happens with the project, you are always ready come event day.
😉 SINNAPS TIP: if you have to assign a set date to an activity, we recommend you add a dependency, too. Dependencies prevail over set dates, so it’s possible some activities can be replanned automatically if changes are made. But if your activity has a set date, Sinnaps will let you know before changing it, when its dependency remains.